How to Prevent Strains and Sprains on Your Worksites

Did you know according to the National Safety Council, strains and sprains are among the nation’s leading causes of worker’s compensation claims?

Strains and sprains can occur anywhere, any time:

  • On the job
  • In your home
  • During sports activities
  • Other recreational activities

What is a strain?

Strains are stretched ligaments and tendons. A strain usually occurs whenever a muscle is stretched beyond its limit.

What is a sprain?

Sprains occur when a muscle is stretched too much, and ligaments pull, sometimes tear.

Causes of strain and sprain:

  • Awkward postures
  • Repetition
  • Excessive force
  • Static posture
  • Vibration
  • Poorly designed tools
  • Extreme temperature
  • Poor work organization
  • Factors that contribute to strains and sprains:
  • Lifting objects that are too heavy
  • Not lifting correctly or safely
  • Overreaching or overextending a part of the body when picking up objects
  • Not using a proper stool or ladder when lifting from above
  • Slipping on wet floors, overextending muscles attempting to avoid falling

Prevention for strains and sprains:

  • Fit the job to the worker, not the worker to the job
  • Have a firm grip
  • Have a proper footing
  • Work close to your body
  • Keep a straight back
  • Lift with the legs
  • Pivot, don’t twist
  • Don’t overreach

Lifting tips:

  • When lifting, ensure you are squared up to the load so when you lift there will be no twisting or turning of the body.
  • When lifting from ground level, bend the knees, keeping the back straight, use your legs to lift, and keep the load close to your body.
  • When lifting from waist level, keep your back straight, use your torso and arm muscles to lift, keeping the load close to your body.
  • Never attempt to lift from your shoulder level or above.
  • Avoid lifting anything that is too heavy for one person to lift alone. Utilize mechanical equipment such as a fork lift, overhead hoist/crane, pallet jack or the like.
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